Tuesday, February 16, 2010

As a software engineer I find this very scary

I like technology. Technology has greatly improved the world. We are safer, healthier, more entertained, and better empowered.

But technology has risks. Software can especially have risks. I find this very scary - The Dozens of Computers That Make Modern Cars Go (and Stop):

The electronic systems in modern cars and trucks — under new scrutiny as regulators continue to raise concerns about Toyota vehicles — are packed with up to 100 million lines of computer code, more than in some jet fighters.
“It would be easy to say the modern car is a computer on wheels, but it’s more like 30 or more computers on wheels,” said Bruce Emaus, the chairman of SAE International’s embedded software standards committee.
Even basic vehicles have at least 30 of these microprocessor-controlled devices, known as electronic control units, and some luxury cars have as many as 100.
These electronic brains control dozens of functions, including brake and cruise control and entertainment systems. Software in each unit is also made to work with others. So, for example, when a driver pushes a button on a key fob to unlock the doors, a module in the trunk might rouse separate computers to unlock all four doors.


A 100 million lines of code is a lot of code. Applications with a million lines of code are considered large.

The problem with Toyota brakes, leading to the recall of 400,000 Prius cars is due to a software glitch.

There is a joke in the software industry that you never want to buy the first release a new version of software because it would often be buggy. There is wisdom in letting others use a new operating system or application to shake out the bugs and then buying a fixed version.

I will probably never buy a new car. I'll let others buy a car, with all the new software, and wait for a year to make sure there are no major problems before buying.

(Hat tip: Risks Digest)

Technorati tags: software, technology, cars

1 comment:

Liquid Roof said...

Thanks buddy for sharing the useful and informative post. Keep it up.